There is growing concern from disability activists that welfare-to-work (workfare) policies present substantial barriers to participation in the open labor market for people with disabilities. Perceived success of the U.S. workfare policy in reducing government expenditures, however, sparked the Slovak Republic to adopt similar policy. The article explores how the recently implemented workfare system created because of the Slovak National Action Plan on Social Inclusion (NAPS) affects the open labor market participation of people with disabilities. It draws on Nancy Fraser's theory of social justice to frame injustices in the policies and practices surrounding the Slovak workfare system for people with disabilities. It examines five key areas outlined in the NAPS that directly impact the participation of people with disabilities in the labor market in Slovakia: stigma, accessibility, training, legislation, and supported employment.


In March 2000 at the European Council in Lisbon, the European Union (EU) and countries wishing to join the EU were pressed to adopt policies that had "decisive impact on the eradication of poverty" (European Council, 2000, Section 32). The Slovak Republic, at the time a candidate state for EU membership, participated in the meeting and received guidance for implementing economic policies promoting the inclusion of disadvantaged groups. Slovakia's response was to develop a set of policies and guidelines that addressed poverty by promoting employment, called the 2004-2006 National Action Plan on Social Inclusion (NAPS). The NAPS seeks to address poverty by promoting independence in an attempt to reduce government expenditure on welfare. The central strategy is to assist individuals to become economically self-sufficient via engagement in the paid labor market. Following the perceived success of welfare-to-work programs in reducing expenditure on welfare in countries like the United States, Slovakia similarly sought to reduce its spending on welfare by requiring an individual to participate in the labor market in order to receive welfare benefits.

In conjunction with reduced governmental spending, the NAPS laid out a plan to allow for privatized services to play a larger role in the welfare process. The plan largely cut the direct provision of welfare benefits to individuals and instead provided welfare in the form of institutional support in the job search progress, predominately through the newly privatized services (Bohle & Greskovits, 2007). To help set up these new policies and programs, the Slovak government enlisted the help of the Cato Institute — a Washington based libertarian think tank — to develop a more effective political system that increased competition in the private sector, and decreased the provision of government aid (Smith & Rochovská , 2007). Specifically, the Slovak government targeted the help of Cato's José Pinera, key orchestrator of workfare policy in the United States, and of the neoliberal restructuring of the Chilean government's health and pension system. Although his political advice to Chile is heralded by supporters of the neoliberal free market ideology, the oppressive aftermath of his supported policies have included a widening class divide and the profound deterioration of the quality and provision of services to individuals of lower socioeconomic status (Taylor, 2003). The results have been similar in Slovakia.

The increasingly neoliberal political economy in Slovakia that supports the privatization of welfare services has made consultation from institutions like Cato possible. This article will explore how current reforms in the Slovakian welfare system, rather than advancing the rights of people with disabilities, are reproducing some of the problems facing people with disabilities in the United States. It will begin with an overview of the political economic system in Slovakia; and trace how, since its departure from Communism, the welfare system has become a hybrid model of welfare embracing elements of both social democracy and neoliberalism. In this paper, neoliberalism refers to political and economic decisions that promote personal accountability in the employment sector through both market deregulation and the removal of institutional supports for general wellbeing (Harvey, 2006). The article will then outline Nancy Fraser's critical social justice framework, and draw on this framework to explore welfare-to-work policies in Slovakia. Fraser's work on redistribution and recognition is useful to further our understanding of the position of people with disabilities in the new hybrid welfare system. Finally, the article will discuss the impact of these new policy directions in Slovakia by drawing on key employment-related policy directions as outlined in the NAPS.

The Political Economy of Slovakia

Slovakia, a former Communist country, has been greatly influenced by its political history in shaping its current welfare trajectory. The Velvet Revolution in December 1989 marked the end of Communism and the splitting of Czechoslovakia into the Czech and Slovak Republics. The split was generally peaceful, but the political diffraction in the decades following has propelled drastic political swings and mixed priorities in the restructuring of welfare policy. Following the fall of Communism in the 1990s, much of Slovak welfare policy initially resembled that of a liberal welfare regime as described by Esping-Andersen (1990): a system characterized by its support of free-markets, supported reduction of government intervention and expenditure, and private provision of welfare services. Many of the liberal principles of increasing economic growth in the private sector were established in response to the welfare policies of the first elected Premier of the new Slovak government, Vladimír Mečiar. Mečiar developed a negative public image when the government maintained flaws policy from the Communist system and further stunted economic growth during a period of high political corruption (Fisher, Gould, & Haughton, 2007).

Elements of communism remain entrenched in the political system, while concurrently policies have shifted away from communism in order to keep up with the liberalizing political economy of other formerly Communist countries in Central and Eastern Europe. After the fall of Communism, Cerami (2008) contends that the Visegrad Group of countries (Hungary, Poland, and the Czech and Slovak Republics) ultimately followed a new "fourth welfare regime" that embodies components of the three core welfare typologies, namely, corporatism, social democracy, and liberalism (for a full discussion of welfare typologies see Esping Andersen, 1990). While the policies in the Visegrad Group remain hybridized, the welfare system has further adapted to accommodate the liberal market orientation in hope of supporting large-scale economic growth (Cerami, 2008). Despite an initial push for universal policies, the restructuring of the welfare system in Slovakia signals a departure from social democratic policies, and a hybrid system of privatization within a discourse of universalism is emerging.

In the progress of morphing towards a more deregulated liberal economy, elements of post-communist rule and social democratic influence further complicate systemic policy changes. The Slovak reformation of the welfare state initially incorporated elements from the social democratic regime type, as the state preserved some Communist ideologies in their initial policy restructuring after its separation from the Czech Republic. For example, in seeking post-communist political reforms, there was general disagreement over whether to keep the former constitution intact. The Slovak government originally emphasized maintaining a centralized government provision of healthcare, as well as including universal policies such as free education and childcare (Cerami, 2008). This emphasis may have initially prevented the full liberalization of welfare policy. Resistance to straying away from the constitution has been a key political challenge for Slovak policymakers.

Constitutionally protected universal welfare provisions in Slovakia, however, have the potential to become little more than ideals with the increased market presence and introduction of neoliberal welfare development. The inception of neoliberal reforms to welfare policy differs from the policy trajectory of a liberal welfare state. While the concept of free market competition is central to the liberal welfare state, neoliberalism additionally implies both the promotion of economic self-sufficiency and the intensification of morally charged regulation to promote employment in the context of reducing governmental benefits (Peters, 2001). The inception of neoliberal personal responsibility in the context of universalism can be seen through disability employment policies, such as the NAPS, which have placed a strong emphasis on workforce participation as a condition for welfare benefits. The policies emerged from a desire to reduce the public finance deficit by promoting market deregulation through a reduced flat-rate tax system while simultaneously promoting personal economic independence (Fisher, Gould, & Haughton, 2007).

Policies promoting economic independence been unjustly applauded for reducing the number of people with disabilities receiving unemployment benefits and services (Mental Disability Advocacy Center, 2011). In spite of reducing services, statistics gathered from NGOs suggest that the total number of employed people with disabilities has dropped steadily from about 28,000 in 2004 to 26,000 in 2007. The employment rate of people with disabilities is significantly lower than the general population; 20 per cent as compared to 60 per cent for the general population (Repkova, Hanzelova, & Brichtova, L, 2007). Additionally, the low employment rate of people with disabilities is of further concern as many employed individuals are still categorized as "economically inactive," or in segregated work settings. The reduction of welfare provisions, coinciding with the privatization of services, has not promoted greater open labor market participation for people with disabilities.

People with disabilities, historically ignored in the political domain, now face multiple systemic issues of all three political ideals when coupled with the pitfalls of market deregulation and privatization. Fully adapting a workfare system, such as that seen in the United States, would bring an end to many universal benefits for those who are prevented through structural and attitudinal barriers from participating in the open labor market. Nevertheless, the growing influence of neoliberalism in Slovak governance is entwined with the restructuring of the welfare state. Since the initial economically driven policy push of the of the centre right government in 2002, Slovakia has embraced a more neo-liberal approach to its welfare state policies. Left and right wing parties alike in post-communist countries have largely supported deregulating private markets, and decreasing government expenditures. Müller (1999, 2004) explains that opposition parties in former communist countries have been motivated to jointly support neoliberal reform out of necessity to be seen as legitimate competitors in global trade in progress to joining the EU. Slovakia conformed to this pattern and was accepted in the EU in 2004. Other developing nations throughout Central and Eastern Europe continue to face increased pressure to adapt to neoliberal policy to support economic stability in order to join the EU (see for example Cuk, 2010). To assert their economic legitimacy, many Slovakian politicians have accepted the privatized welfare expenditures as a necessity. However, while the political environment is a key component in driving the political economic changes in Central and Eastern Europe, the growing concern of neoliberalism in developing countries in the EU does not fully encapsulate the current situation of the welfare system in Slovakia.

People with disabilities face specific problems in the mixed private/public welfare system in Slovakia that move beyond those characteristic of neoliberal reform. Despite ratifying the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in May 2010, Slovakia has not ultimately taken the necessary measures to ensure that people with disabilities are able to reap benefits of Slovak citizenship. While the intent of active employment policies, such as the NAPS, may be to boost economic independence through labor market participation, there is insufficient policy framework to ensure access to the paid labor that the policy seeks to promote (Repkova, Hanzelova, & Brichtova, L, 2007). The system of welfare-to-work suggested by the NAPS calls for reducing welfare payments as an incentive for people to work, but does account for the greater social exclusion of people with disabilities from other major life activities. People with disabilities lack the economic and social independence to pursue open labor market participation, and primarily rely on services from charitable NGOS that generally do not operate with a framework of promoting disability rights (Holland, 2008). The changes to the Slovak welfare system escalate concern for issues of disability rights, as individuals must increasingly rely on the open labor market for their primary source of economic wellbeing.

The recent adaptations of the welfare system in the Slovak Republic (through the NAPS) are embracing neoliberalism as the preferred policy response to people with disabilities. In addition, the Slovak government is drawing on US welfare policy as a foundation in which to launch widespread welfare changes. They are doing so in spite of wide spread criticisms of the US welfare systems' impact on the rights of people with disabilities (i.e. Parker Harris, Owen, & Gould, 2012). In order to further understand the impact of the hybrid welfare model in Slovak on the rights of people with disabilities, a social justice framework is particularly useful to frame the impact of the changing welfare state on disability policy. The paper will now turn to a brief overview of Nancy Fraser's theory of social justice; used here to frame discussion around policy changes in the Slovak welfare system and their resulting impact on the rights of people with disabilities.

Social Justice Framework

Injustice stems from a range of interrelated dimensions that influence the capacity for participation. This issue has been raised by Nancy Fraser (1998, 2003), who proposes two broadly conceived, analytically distinct, understandings of justice. The first is socio-economic and stems from the political-economic structures of society. Injustice here involves the maldistribution of material resources, and examples include exploitation, and economic marginalization and deprivation. For people with disabilities a key area of injustice is reduced access to the labor market, and those outside the labor market are marginalized and deprived. The second type of injustice Fraser notes is cultural or symbolic, and this stems from social patterns of representation, interpretation and communication. Examples include cultural domination, non-recognition and disrespect, i.e. misrecognition. Both forms of injustice, maldistribution and misrecognition, are pervasive in contemporary societies (although there are differences between them), and both are inherently bound up with processes and practices that systematically disadvantage some groups of people.

While Fraser does not specifically include people with disabilities in the groups discussed, this article argues that it is a useful framework to explore welfare reform of people with disabilities in Slovakia, as it demonstrates how people with disabilities are systematically disadvantaged in their participation in the labor market through the twin processes of socio-cultural and political-economic practices. The approach to poverty reduction and increased participation in employment, as outlined in the NAPS, has embraced unilateral thinking that neglects the rights of people with disabilities.

From the point of view of maldistribution, injustice is entrenched in society's economic framework. The denial of access to generating income and/or confinement to undesirable work and working conditions results from this injustice (Fraser, 1998). For people with disabilities a key area of injustice is access to the labor market. The second form of injustice, misrecognition, occurs when a group of people is placed in a position of social subordination that prevents them from full participation as peers in an aspect of social life (Fraser, 2003). In turn, misrecognition takes place when institutions create policy and practice that excludes individuals who do not make up the perceived dominant norm. The exclusion of diverse individuals from mainstream policy results in their inherent or typical actions being perceived as perverse or deviant. A person with a disability, who chooses or is forced to live outside the labor market, is marginalized and deprived in the structure of the social security system. While the normative definition of misrecognition views injustice as the warped depreciation of a perceived group identity (see Young, 1990 for example), Fraser argues that recognition of a group identity will not inherently fix issues of maldistribution. For people with disabilities, despite a strong history of disability rights and disability social movements, the collective strength of the disability community has not ameliorated discrimination and marginalization in domains such as employment. Similarly, the former definition is based on the tenet that injustices of maldistribution are actually subsidiaries of the misrecognition of group identity (Young, 1990). Although the two types of injustice are entwined, struggles for recognition alone cannot fully account for the injustice of redistribution (Fraser, 2003). The following section will analyze the NAPS in the context of disability and social justice.

Social Justice, Workfare Policy and Disability

There are five key areas outlined in the NAPS that are directly impacting on the participation of people with disabilities in the labor market in Slovakia: stigma, accessibility, training, legislation, and supported employment. Each of these will be discussed in the context of social justice and parity of participation in the labor market. This section will outline rhetoric from the NAPS that pertains the concept of economic self-sufficiency through paid labor for people with disabilities. It explains the detriment of such rhetoric when people with disabilities cannot achieve such self-efficiency without accessing needed supports and services that are not guaranteed in the Slovak welfare system.


The general exclusion of people with disabilities by the Slovak NAPS can be viewed through a lens of Fraser's notion of misrecognition as status subordination. The NAPS policy discourse represents the status of people with disabilities as "deviant" when they cannot participate in the mandated steps for workforce inclusion. The language of the policy places blame on the individual for being unable to engage in work when it notes that some disabilities in themselves are completes barrier for working (NAPS, p. 8). The rhetoric furthers the perception of people with disabilities as in need of rehabilitation to "overcome" disability to enter the workplace, although rights to accommodations and assistants are defended by international laws and increasingly accepted in rights based policy (Waddington & Diller, 2002). People with disabilities are stigmatized when they are looked at as in need of "curing, fixing, and normalizing" according to mainstream society (Hunt, 1966).

The limitations and stigma created from the model of normalization by scholars and activists with disabilities has been well documented (i.e. some scholars argue this starts with Hunt, 1966). The perceived notion that people with disabilities "cannot work" is underpinned by a normalized discourse of independent workers, which was developed during the shift from agrarian to industrialized society (see for example Barnes & Mercer, 2005). This notion of the "ideal worker" is reinforced in the NAPS. Additional reasons noted in this document for excluding people with disabilities from the labor market involve misperceptions around requirements of day-long care; as well as increased risks of poverty due to extra costs associated with hiring assistant workers (NAPS, p. 8). This notion perpetuates the belief that people with disabilities merit exclusion from the workplace when they cannot "overcome disability" and require additional accommodation and support.

The concern of misrecognition of people with disabilities is a global issue that requires us to rethink the systemic flaws that further complicate social injustice in welfare-to-work policy schemes. The very real work that people with disabilities are capable of is downgraded by the independence in the workday that the policy mandates. Policy misinterpretation of the "normal" or "ideal" worker will continue to prevent the participation of people with disabilities in the employment sector. The impacts of misrecognition and maldistribution are interrelated in that they fuel and exacerbate each other, and cannot be treated independently without furthering injustice.


The second area is physical accessibility, particularly as it applies to employment, school and transportation. For people with disabilities accessibility of the physical environment is necessary for parity of participation in the labor market. Accessibility can mean different things for people with varying disabilities. For example, people with mobility disabilities may require wheelchair entry into offices, railings for support while walking, and adequate space to allow entry in order for a space to be accessible. For people with sensory or learning disabilities, inaccessibility can refer to over complicated or unexplained resources. Specifically in the case of public transportation, when physical assistance is unavailable to navigate the system it can impede users from utilizing the service. Facilitating access requires both physical accommodations and the availability of personal assistance. Constructing space is often done without paying specific attention to this need of people with disabilities. The lack of attention to disability in constructing space is particularly true in Slovakia where the physically accessibility of public spaces is extremely limited (Holland, 2003).

People with disabilities frequently have physical barriers to enter the private workplace, and encounter additional physical barriers along the way due to the inaccessibility of public services such as public transportation. Officials from varying organizations that serve people with disabilities throughout Slovakia note that until physical accessibility is addressed, initiatives to promote the inclusion and rights of people with disabilities will have extremely "limited potential" (Holland, 2008). In the United States, addressing physical accessibility has been a central aspect of ensuring rights of citizens with disabilities- although private enterprises have sometimes been reluctant to implement structural changes to include people with disabilities. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) began to address this critical need by introducing the concept of reasonable accommodations to alter spaces and increase accessibility. Slovakia will also need to take significant political action in order to address the accessibility of employment options for people with disabilities.

The policy rhetoric in the language of the NAPS encourages the promotion of accessible schools and workspaces, but concurrently no additional redistributive provisions are allocated for this rhetoric to become a reality. Although the drafters of the NAPS acknowledge that transportation and private workplaces should become accessible, the responsibility for enacting this is firmly placed with business — without additional governmental support (NAPS, p. 39). The NAPS does not offer either incentive or penalty to motivate employers to address the issue of inaccessible workplace. The policy is an insignificant solution without any political mandate to address access because requiring employers to address accommodation and hiring without the protection of tax incentives or punitive legal restraints has minimal positive impact on the employment of people with disabilities (Waddington, 1996).The largely privatized system is unlikely to restructure accessibility without financial incentive. In turn, people with disabilities become further entrenched in the effects of misrecognition when the mainstream policy approach prevents their participation on an equal basis to others.


A third area that requires addressing is employment training. Inadequate training options in the workfare system limit the open labor market participation of people with disabilities. For example, in the current United States workfare system, people with disabilities are restricted from pursuing needed education and job training due to the narrow definition of acceptable work (Barnes & Mercer, 2005). The welfare-to-policy system requires welfare recipients to engage in approved work training activities in order to receive their full welfare benefits. In the US welfare system, many people with disabilities report difficulty in accessing mainstream employment training and resources (Holcomb & Barnow, 2004). The Americans with Disabilities Act protects people with disabilities against discrimination and ensures reasonable accommodation for otherwise qualified individuals, but does not take active measures to secure access to education and employment training to ensure their qualification. People with disabilities consequentially do not get the education they need to have their employment rights protected because the civil rights based ADA policy only protects individuals once they are able to compete in the mainstream employment sector (Russell, 2002).

Similarly, in drawing lessons from US policy, the new welfare state of Slovakia is also excluding people with disabilities from mainstream training and support. The percentage of people with disabilities registered for unemployment services dropped an estimated 2% from 2002-2007. The drop does not equate to a boost in employment, but rather a decrease in the provision of services (Mental Disability Advocacy Center, 2011). Despite the rhetoric of broader participation outside of paid work (including enrollment in municipal services, education, volunteering, and labor training), the inadequacy of the NAPS to address the needs of people with disabilities remains evident. Mainstream work organizations and higher education institutions in the country are largely physically inaccessible and unreceptive to accepting people with disabilities. There is not a timeline in which to address and rectify the problem (NAPS, p.22). People with disabilities instead rely on rehabilitation to provide training for people with disabilities regardless of their skill levels or education needs (NAPS, p.15). Rehabilitation services in Southern and Eastern Europe are outdated and need to be updated to meet modern requirements in order to facilitate labor market participation for people with disabilities (Pineda & Cuk, 2007). The barriers to mainstream employment training further the misrecognition of people with disabilities, where people with disabilities are often prevented — through social and physical barriers — from obtaining job skills. People with disabilities are limited in their training choices, which exclude people with disabilities from paid employment. The skills people with disabilities need to develop in order to compete in the open labor market are unattainable through rehabilitation training.

Employment Legislation

The fourth issue is around employment legislation. Many people with disabilities require protective employment legislation at the national level to facilitate hiring their hiring and ameliorate some of the institutionalized barriers that may discriminate against people with disabilities in the hiring process. In the United States, the ADA protects people with disabilities to enter the open labor market through anti-discrimination legislation. In place of the ADA, Slovakia utilizes a quota levy system that allows employers to opt out of hiring people with disabilities, with minor contributions to a general fund supporting institutions for workers with a disability. The funds then go to outdated training services that do not pay particular attention to employment needs of people with disabilities (Holland, 2003). Additionally reasonable accommodations are now extended to people with disabilities in the employment sector, but are not offered for any other systemic support they need in addition to entering the open labor market (Mental Disability Advocacy Center, 2011). These policies largely protect businesses from having to incur the perceived "financial burden" of employing persons with a disability. The assumption underpinning this policy approach is that redistribution of funds to disability services will better address the financial needs of people with disabilities (Mont, 2004).

Slovakia continues to use the quota levy systems in spite of the poor record these policies have on improving employment or integration of people with disabilities, especially during economic hardships where the poverty levels of marginalized groups increase (Waddington, 1996). The failure to properly remedy redistribution can intensify misrecognition (Fraser, 2003, p. 83), as can be seen in the compounded redistributive-based employment policies of Slovakia that prevent the participation of people with disabilities in the mainstream labor market. Additionally, the policies exacerbate the misrecognition of workers with disabilities when they are further prevented from employment in the private sector.

Supported Employment

The fifth issue is around supported employment. Supported, rather than sheltered employment, receives widespread recognition as an inclusive solution to assist people with disabilities in their daily needs in the employment sector. Internationally, employment service providers continue to draw support for sheltered workshop based on studies reporting varying concerns over the well being of individuals with disabilities in the open labor market. In spite of and because of the segregated aspects, some parents with guardian rights and service providers have defended the protective aspects of sheltered workshops. These studies include reported concern over integrated employment settings being inappropriate social environment for adults with intellectual disabilities for social development (Perrin, 1999), to fear of mistreatment and being taken advantage of by employers (O'Brien & Dempsey, 2004).

People with disabilities themselves have concerns about social relationships outside of sheltered workshop (Dudley & Schatz, 1985). In this case, concern over the open labor market is used to defend sheltered systems instead of driving change towards more accommodating integrated spaces. Although concerns over treatment in the open labor market are legitimate, people with disabilities are largely in favor of integrated employment away from sheltered workshops (Migliore, 2007). Sufficient research has showed that sheltered workshops are unsuccessful in training people with disabilities for integrated open employment and that they often do not result in paid labor positions (Rose, 1999). Furthermore, when there is a dearth of alternate services people with disabilities are ultimately segregated without ability to integrate with the rest of the community.

Sheltered workshops are the only mandated disability employment institution introduced in the NAPS (p.15). The forced segregation is of serious concern because of the increasing lack of government financing and supervision of the public sector, both of which contributes to poor working conditions and support in disability services (Holland, 2003). The ongoing commitment by the government to sheltered workshops, even though they are known to be an inefficient means of increasing employment, exemplifies misrecognition as status subordination. People with disabilities in Slovakia have limited employment options; evident in how segregated sheltered workshops systemically prevent the parity of participation of people with disabilities in the open labor market.

The status discrimination that people with disabilities experience in employment is coupled by economic discrimination. Owners of sheltered workshops are able to escape minimum wage standards due to the perception that they are providing an employment "service" for people with disabilities (Ochotnicky, 1997). People with disabilities thus make below the standard living wage in sheltered workshop facilities, which in part, creates a cycle of poverty. In sum, the promotion of sheltered workshops perpetuates structural injustices such as segregation, poor working conditions, and unjust wages. In combination the stigma that people with disabilities face, the injustices of sheltered rehabilitation create further barriers to equitable employment for people with disabilities in Slovakia.

Conclusion and Future Directions

People with disabilities in the Slovak Republic experience both structural and status injustices sin current workfare policy. In these neoliberal times, there have been growing attempts to address injustices through recognition policies, without the necessary redistributive practices. Redistribution and recognition are historically presented as contrary policy approaches to social injustice (OECD, 2003); however, failure to address these injustices simultaneously is ineffectual for creating cultural change and justice (Fraser, 1997).

Within the NAPS policy trajectory, people with disabilities are unable to obtain sustainable employment, as they are largely prevented or discouraged from participation in mainstream job training. A potential step forward in the social justice struggle would be redefining what constitutes acceptable work or work training. In the Slovak system, a starting point could be in recognition of the capacity of people with disabilities to complete job trainings other than the current sheltered work system, which only further marginalizes people with disabilities. In addition, these changes require a commitment by government to accessibility. Development of rights-oriented policy that specifically addresses environmental barriers, such as inaccessible workplaces and transportation systems, is critically needed for people with disabilities to have parity of participation in the labor market.

The varying needs of people with disabilities are largely overlooked in welfare-to-work policy. In both the US and Slovak policy, the neoliberal welfare policies push individuals into jobs, but do not take additional measures to ensure that people with disabilities can participate in the open labor market. Similarly, in the Slovak Republic the promotion of sheltered rehabilitation furthers the status subordination of people with disabilities and the stigmatic perception that they are unable to participate in the labor market. Compounded with the maldistribution that happens in both countries due to the neoliberal wave of reduced government expenditures to pay for accommodations, people with disabilities continue to face increased barriers to equal participation in the open labor market. Policy solutions need take into account both issues of social injustice in order to remove the roadblocks, and further promote the rights of people with disabilities to participate in the labor market.


  • Barnes, C. & Mercer, G., (2005). Disability, work, and welfare: Challenging the social exclusion of disabled people. Work, Employment and Society, 19(3), 527-545.
  • Bohle, D. & B. Greskovits. (2007). Neoliberalism, Embeddded Neoliberalism, and Neocorporatism: Paths Towards Transnational Capitalism in Central-Eastern Europe. West European Politics, 30(3), 443-466.
  • Cerami, Alfio. (2008). The Politics of Reforms in Bismarckian Welfare Systems: The Cases of Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia. In B. Palier (Ed.) A Long-Good Bye to Bismarck? The Politics of Reforms in Continental Europe. Amsterdam, Amsterdam University Press, 2-26.
  • Cuk, V. (2010). Neostigmatization: The New Complexity/Reality for Disabled People. Lecture provided at Trinity College Dublin, Ireland.
  • Dudley, J.R. & Schatz, M.S. (1985). The missing link in evaluating sheltered workshop programs: The clients' input. Mental Retardation, 23, 235-240.
  • Esping Andersen, G. (1990). The Three Worlds of Welfare Capitalism. Cambridge, Polity Press.
  • European Council (2000). Presidency Conclusions. Lisbon, European Parliament. Retrieved from: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/summits/lis1_en.htm
  • Fisher, S, Gould, J. & Haughton, T. (2007). Slovakia's Neoliberal Turn Europe-Asia Studies, 59 (6). 977-998.
  • Fraser, N. (1997). Justice Interruptus. New York, Routledge.
  • Fraser, N. (1998) Social Justice. In. G. Peterson (Ed.) The Tanner Lectures on Human Values. Salt Lake City, University of Utah Press, 2-67.
  • Fraser, N. (2000). Rethinking Recognition. The New Left Review. Retrieved from http://www.newleftreview.org/?view=2248.
  • Fraser, N. (2003). Social justice in an age of identity politics: Redistribution, Recognition and Participation. In N. Fraser and A. Honneth (Eds.) Redistribution or recognition? A political-philosophical exchange. London, Verso, 7-109.
  • Harvey, D. (2005). A brief history of neoliberalism. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
  • Holcomb, P., & Barnow, B. (2004). Serving people with disabilities through the Workforce Investment Act's one-stop career centers. Retrieved from http://www.urban.org/UploadedPDF/411132_onestop_career_centers.pdf
  • Holland, D. (2003). Grass Roots Promotion of Community Health and Human Rights for People with Disabilities in Post-communist Central Europe: a profile of the Slovak Republic. Disability & Society, 18(2), 133-143.
  • Holland, D. (2008). The current status of disability activism and non-governmental organizations in post-communist Europe: preliminary findings based on reports from the field. Disability & Society, 23(6), 543-555.
  • Hunt, P. (1966). Stigma: The Experience of Disability. London, U.K, Geoffrey Chapman.
  • Mental Disability Advocacy Centre. (2011). Report for the Council of Europe's Commissioner for Human Rights on the Slovak Republic. Budapest: Mental Disability Advocacy Centre. Retrieved from: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/
  • Migliore, A., Mank, D., Grossi, T., & Rogan, P. M. (2007). Integrated employment or sheltered workshops: Preferences of adults with intellectual disabilities, their families, and staff. Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 26(1), 5-19.
  • Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Family of the Slovak Republic (2004). National Action Plan on Social Inclusion 2004-2006 Slovak Republic. Bratislava. Retrieved from: http://ec.europa.eu/employment_social/social_inclusion/docs//nap_incl_2004_sk_en_version.pdf
  • Mont, D. (2004). Disability Employment Policy. Social Protection Discussion Paper no. 0413. Washington, D.C., World Bank, 2-35.
  • Müller, K. (1999). The Political Economy of Pension Reform in Central-Eastern Europe. Cheltenham UK, Edward Elgar.
  • Müller, K. (Ed) (2004). The Political Economy of Pension Reform in Central and Eastern Europe. In Reforming Public Pensions. Sharing the Experiences of Transition and OECD Countries. Paris, OECD, pp. 23-50.
  • O'Brien, J. & Dempsey, I. (2004). Comparative analysis of employment services for people with disabilities in Australia, Finland, and Sweden. Journal of Policy and Practice in Intellectual Disabilities, 1(3/4), 126-135.
  • OECD. (2003). Transforming Disability Into Ability: Policies to Promote Work and Income Security for Disabled People. Paris, OECD.
  • Ochotnicky, P. (1997). Employment policies and programmes in Slovakia. In R. Godfrey & P. Richards (Eds.) Employment policies and programmes in Central and Eastern Europe. Geneva: International Labour Office, 147-55.
  • Parker Harris, S., Owen, R. & Gould, R. (2012). Parity of participation in liberal welfare states: Human rights, neoliberalism, disability and employment. Forthcoming. Disability and Society.
  • Perrin, B. (1999). Lessons Learned from Evaluation of Disability Policy and Programs. Ottawa, Human Resources Development Canada. Retrieved from: http://www.dsc.gc.ca/en/cs/sp/edd/reports/1999-000363/dpptr.pdf
  • Peters, M. (2001). Postructuralism, Marxism, and neoliberalism: between theory and politics. Landham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Pineda, V. & Cuk, V. (2007) Young People with Disabilities in the Europe and Central Asia Region. Rome, Background Paper for the World Bank Conference on Disability. Retrieved from: http://siteresources.worldbank.org/EXTECAREGTOPYOUTH/Resources/Youth_with_Disabilities.pdf
  • Repkova, K., Hanzelova, E. & Brichtova, L. (2007) Report on the employment of disabled people in European countries. University of Leeds, UK. Academic Network of European Disability Experts, Retrieved from: http://www.disabilityeurope.net/content/aned/media/SK%20%20ANED%202009%20SPSI%20Report%20Final.pdf
  • Rose, N. (1999). Jobs for Whom? Employment Policy in the United States and Western Europe. Journal of Economic Issues, 33(2), 453-60.
  • Russell, M. (2002). What disability civil rights cannot do: Employment and political economy. Disability & Society, 17(2), 117-135.
  • Smith, A. & Rochovská , A. (2007). Domesticating neo-liberalism: Everyday lives and the geographies of post-socialist transformations. Geoforum, 38(2), 1163-1178.
  • Taylor, M. (2003). The Reformulation of Social Policy in Chile, 1973-2001: Questioning a Neoliberal Model. Global Social Policy, (3), 21-44.
  • Waddington, L. (1996). Reassessing the Employment of People with Disabilities in Europe: From Quotas to Anti-Discrimination Laws. Comparative Labor Law Journal, 18 (1), 62.
  • Waddington, L., & Diller, M. (2002). Tensions and Coherence in Disability Policy: the uneasy relationship between Social Welfare and Civil Rights Models of Disability in American, European and International Law. In M. Breslin & S. Yee (Eds) Disability Rights Law and Policy. New York, Transnational Publishers, 241-280.
  • Young, I. M. (1990) Justice and the politics of difference. Princeton, NJ, Princeton University Press.
Return to Top of Page